By: PNG Business News March 10, 2024

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape held discussions with the new United States Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Ann Marie Yastishock, recently at his Sir Manasupe House office in Port Moresby.

Prime Minister Marape, in welcoming the ambassador, said PNG is a friendly country with a robust democracy.

Prime Minister Marape informed Ambassador Yastishock on the need for detailed discussions on implementing the recently signed PNG-US Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA).

Ambassador Yastishock highlighted that the US government is keen on progressing this and proposed a meeting with officials from both countries later this year in Port Moresby.

Prime Minister Marape also noted that the US has stepped up its interactions with the Pacific in recent years, such as the last two US-Pacific Island countries meeting in Washington.

He said whilst it is good, the outcomes must be seen by the Pacific Island countries.

“For our PNG-US relations, PNG has a huge youth population with school leavers seeking further studies and employment opportunities, and that needs to be addressed in the next five to seven years.

“That is why we are in the conversation on downstream processing. If we can get US investors into downstream processing in agriculture, fisheries, and forestry, this could help create employment opportunities for our citizens,” said Prime Minister Marape.

He also reiterated the need for scholarships for PNG students to study in the United States.

“Ambassador, under your time, if we could further expand on this scholarship for our PNG students, it would do a great deal in alleviating some of the unemployment and training needs of our young citizens coming out of our school system.

“The number of spaces in our higher institutions of learning and those graduating have limited employment opportunities, so, if the US can help facilitate scholarships for PNG students in the US, would be great,’’ he said.

Last year, the top performing students from PNG’s National Schools of Excellence were offered scholarships in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in US universities.

Further, Prime Minister Marape also discussed the issue of reciprocal visa on arrival arrangements for both PNG and US citizens.

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